An Example Of Social Media

Yesterday Google released it's 'Streetview' service in the UK. This allows people who use Google's mapping website to look at panoramic photographs of the areas covered.

The first place that I looked was for my house, sadly the Google camera car stopped one street away. I looked for my Mum's house, and again the photographs stopped one street away.

Then I looked for my ambulance station.

View Larger Map

All very clever, and as the streets are public, not a problem. Anyone with nefarious purposes are better served by actually visiting the place in question. For example, in these pictures of our station, you can't see the security cameras…

But then I thought about the road outside Newham hospital, had the camera car been down there?

Sure enough they had, and what was shown was a patient being unloaded from an ambulance.

Now, I'm not too sure if the road that the hospital on is public property or not, but ethically there is surely an expectation of privacy when you are on an ambulance or being wheeled into A&E? It is this expectation of privacy which is important1.
Being a bit busy I just twittered about it and thought nothing more about it.

Twitter

However it would seem that someone with a bit more energy behind their ethical standing took notice of it and reported the image to Google, and being generally good guys, they quickly removed it.

Then today I saw exactly the same picture printed in The Metro, with a screaming headline about privacy concerns. Really, if they were that concerned about privacy, they shouldn't have printed the picture along with the story…

I suspect that someone on the Metro reads my twitter feed (actually, I personally know someone who does, but they are quite smart and are unlikely to have been involved in printing the picture). But what it does show is the surprising speed of information via various 'social media' networks.

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For those that listen along, the next Podcast thing is up where I apologise for the delay between 'casts and read the next half an hour of my first book. You can find it here.

1Here is an excellent guide for UK Photographers and the law.

12 thoughts on “An Example Of Social Media”

  1. I've just noticed that on some browsers this doesn't render correctly.It's a small problem that I haven't the time to fix I'm afraid…

  2. I've just had a mooch at a couple of hospitals near me (City and Selly Oak Hospitals in Birmigham), and Google appear to have stopped their streetmap piccies within a radius of about a quarter of a mile of both, so full marks to them for that.

  3. I've just noticed that at the bottom of the streetmap picture there is a link to “report a concern”, so again it looks like they're taking their responsibilities seriously.

  4. /waves. No you haven't been hit by some nasty web-crawling bot. I just got sucked into the archieves by mistake. Honestly I only meant to read a page and somehow 3 hours have disappeared!

  5. Just noticed that the image for Downing Street has been deleted (despite the fact that a tour bus full of tourists has taken their photos) but the pictures for the headquarters of MI6 are still visible. What's the big secret?

  6. I think it's still pretty good – except of course the new legislation preventing the police being photographed.If you have a better link please point me to it.

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